Indiana Jones: 10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About The Temple Of Doom

After Lucasfilm saw massive success with Raiders of the Lost Ark, a sequel was quickly put into development. The film was called Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, which was released three years after the original film. Temple of Doom was actually a prequel to Raiders of the Lost Ark, starting off in Shanghai in 1935. The film wasn’t as well-received as the original, but has still gotten positive reviews over the years.

Harrison Ford reprises his role of Indiana Jones, but is also accompanied by two other characters named Willie Scott (Kate Capshaw) and Short Round (Ke Huy Quan). This year marked the 35th Anniversary of The Temple of Doom but there are still some things you might be unaware of. Here is Indiana Jones: 10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About The Temple Of Doom.

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10 Barbara Streisand And Carrie Fisher Visited The Set

Temple of Doom Whipping Scene

By the mid-‘80s Barbara Streisand, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford were three well-known people in Hollywood. Ford and Fisher co-starred in the original Star Wars trilogy, while Streisand had a successful career in the film and music industries.

While The Temple of Doom was being filmed, Streisand, Fisher, and The Empire Strikes Back director Irvin Kershner visited the set of The Temple of Doom to play a prank on Ford. While Ford was tied to a rock for the whipping scene, Steven Spielberg had Streisand come on set in a dominatrix outfit to whip Ford. Grainy videos of the encounter can be seen online.

9 More Characters Were Named After Dogs

Jonathan Ke Quan in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

When Raiders of the Lost Ark was being developed, the character Indiana Jones was named after George Lucas’s Alaskan malamute. When it came time for the sequel, the filmmakers kept this going by naming characters in The Temple of Doom off of more four-legged friends.

Willie Scott is named after Steven Spielberg’s Cocker Spaniel and Short Round was named after writer Willard Huyck’s Shetland Sheepdog. Dogs are clearly an important part of the Indiana Jones movies, especially when it comes around full circle in The Last Crusade when Henry Jones reveals his son was named after their dog.

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8 Steven Spielberg Married Willie

Star Wars Easter Egg Temple Doom Lightsaber

While Indiana Jones is seen kissing Willie at the end of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, it was actually director Steven Spielberg who ended up marrying actress Kate Capshaw. Spielberg was married to Amy Irving until 1989, but he met his future wife in Capshaw on the set of The Temple of Doom.


Many people cite the second Indiana Jones as being the darkest entry of the series, which was partly because George Lucas was going through his divorce with Marcia Griffin. At the time, Spielberg had also recently broken up with Kathleen Carey, but at least he found his soulmate in Kate Capshaw.

7 The Monkey Brains Were Fake (The Bugs Weren’t)

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom Monkey Brains

Raiders of the Lost Ark was notorious for the number of snakes they included in the well of souls, but Spielberg went with a different creepy creature for the sequel. When Indy and Short Round are trapped, Willie has to come to their rescue and stick her hand inside a whole filled with beetles, cockroaches, and other creepy crawlies.

Capshaw even took a Valium to get through the scene since the bugs were constantly crawling in and out of her clothes. While the bugs in the film were real, the famous monkey brain scene was fake. Instead of monkey brains for dessert, the cast ate custard and raspberry sauce.

6 Harrison Ford Got Injured Again

Harrison Ford used to be one of the biggest action stars in Hollywood, which meant that he often got hurt on the set of his movies. He got food poisoning and tore his ACL in Raiders of the Lost Ark, and things got even more serious in The Temple of Doom.

Ford damaged his spine while riding elephants and made things worse when he fought the assassin that he ends up choking with his whip. Ford had to be sent back to the US to get his spine fused back together, which shut production down for a week. After that, Spielberg kept filming, using Vic Armstrong as Ford’s stunt double to continue with production. 

5 The Opening Was Almost Very Different

Harrison Ford and Kate Capshaw in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

While Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is often considered the worst of the original trilogy, the opening scene is unforgettable with Willie singing “Anything Goes” in Mandarin. The sequence continues with Indy being drugged by Lao Che then him and Willie escaping the Club with the antidote.

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The beginning however was originally written as something completely different, with Indiana Jones riding a motorcycle along the Great Wall of China. China wouldn’t allow the sequence to be shot, so instead things were re-written for what ultimately made it into the film.

4 Ke Huy Quan Wasn’t Trying To Get The Role

Short Round Temple of Doom

One of the most memorable characters to come out of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was Short Round, played by Ke Huy Quan. Short Round was Indy’s young Vietnamese friend who initially helped Willie and Indy escape Club Obi-Wan. The Temple of Doom was Quan’s breakout role, but he didn’t even audition at first.

Quan had gone to help his brother audition for the part, but after the filmmakers saw him helping his brother, they decided to go with Ke Huy Quan over his brother. Quan doesn’t have a lot of titles under his belt, but is also well-known for his role in The Goonies.

3 The Raft Sequence Was Done In One Take

One scene in The Temple of Doom that people often criticize is the raft sequence. After Lao Che’s men abandon Indy and co., the gang have no choice but to use an inflatable raft to escape a plane crash. It seems rather unrealistic, but the shot was actually done in one take.

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One of the producers, Frank Marshall, revealed that they had stuntman throw a raft out of a plane and it happened to open up perfectly. The dummies they had inside the raft also weighed it down the right amount, so it looked like people were actually in the raft and starting to slide down the slope.

2 The Shaman Couldn’t Actually Speak English

D.R. Nanayakkara played the Shaman in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. The actor was a native of Sri Lanka, who had been acting since 1949. Despite acting for 35 years prior to 1984, The Temple of Doom is still the biggest, and last, movie of his career.

Since Nanayakkara was born in Sri Lanka, he actually couldn’t speak any English. Steven Spielberg had to say his lines off-screen and Nanayakkara would repeat them back on camera. This is why there are slight pauses in between his lines and it’s also believed he even copied some of Spielberg’s hand motions as well.

1 They Almost Shot Everything In India

indiana jones temple of doom human sacrifice mola ram

When the filmmakers were scouting locations for Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, they had planned to film most of their scenes in India. However, this decision had to be reversed after they discovered that the Indian government wanted to change several things in the movie and censor things they found too offensive. 

Instead, The Temple of Doom was filmed in Kandy, Sri Lanka, Paramount’s backlot, and sets built at Elstree Studios. When Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was first released it was banned in India, and people today even consider several things in the film problematic because of the way Indian people are represented. 

Next: Indiana Jones: 10 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Raiders Of The Lost Ark

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